Colombian Government Expands Medicines & Treatments Covered By Government-Backed Health Insurance, Cannabis Now Included
Beginning January first, Colombia’s health care providers operating under the government-backed, privately delivered EPS (Health Providing Entities) regime, received an expanded list of medicines and procedures that must be covered by these entities, and that will be reimbursed by the government for eligible patients.
In 2020, 184 medical formulations and 22 health procedures were covered, but Resolution 2292 of 2021, issued by Colombia’s Health Ministry December 23, adds 654 more medical procedures to the reimbursement list. The Colombian health ministry says that 97% of coded procedures carried out in Colombia are now covered, along with 309 clinical laboratory tests.
Added to the list are procedures for the management of hearing loss, for dental care and oral rehabilitation, state-of-the-art radiotherapy for the management of cancer, procedures for the care of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, neuropsychology procedures, organ transplants, eye disease care, and in-utero fetus interventions.
Active pharmaceutical ingredients covered have gone from 459 to 1059, representing almost 35,000 unique drug codes (CUMS), or coverage for 89% of all unique drug codes prescribed in Colombia.
To download the entire resolution (Spanish) click here.
“Medications are included for pathologies with a great impact on the health status of the Colombian population, such as arterial hypertension, kidney disease, plus pharmacological options for different types of cancer: gliomas, sarcoma, myelomas, lymphomas, leukemia, melanoma, skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, colon and rectal cancer, among others,” said the Deputy Minister of Social Protection, María Andrea Godoy Casadiego (above photo).
The deputy minister said the expanded list now includes more medications for respiratory, dermatological, cardiovascular diseases, more contraceptive options for women, medications for pain management, osteoarthritis, mental illnesses, medications for use in ophthalmology, immunodeficiencies, antibiotics, plus pharmaceutical formulations for special populations such as children and older adults, and more combinations at fixed doses that improve adherence to treatment and allow fewer doses.
Medical Marijuana Covered
Medical marijuana derivatives are included in the expansive resolution for the first time, meaning that the Colombian government mandates EPS coverage for prescribed CBD and THC cannabis derivatives. Psychoactive THC medicines remain strictly regulated.
Certain private insurance providers had already begun to cover certain cannabis-based treatments.
“We have worked with insurance companies across the country to include this medication in their administrative systems. In 2021, 60% of our products were sold through agreements with two major insurance providers. Today, all insurance companies are mandated to cover medical cannabis in Colombia, with less paperwork and hassle for patients,” said Álvaro Torres, CEO of cannabis products firm Khiron Life Sciences Corp. ( (TSXV: KHRN), (OTCQB: KHRNF).
Along with its subsidiary, Zerenia Clinics, Torres says the company has filled over 57,000 prescriptions for 16,000 individual patients after Colombia authorized (but did not mandate) coverage of the medications under health insurance plans.